For the One Afraid to Die
“My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all courage, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ—which is far better—but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.” Philippians 1:20-24
Do you fear death? I did. As a young girl, I was terrified of death. I feared going to bed at night because I may not wake up. Looking back as a grown woman, I see the absurdity of my fear. But the fear of death itself, many of us probably wouldn’t consider strange at all but perfectly normal—even as believers.
But what if our fears of death could be completely undone? What if instead of fearing death, we were joyfully ready for it, confident in its end?
Paul was under house arrest, chained to a Roman soldier. He was waiting for his trial, and he didn’t know what the outcome would be. Rather than fearing his possible death, Paul rejoiced in the fact that death would mean being united to Christ in all His glory and be utterly free from sin. This should be our greatest desire as believers!
For Paul, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” If he lived, it would be to serve Christ and for His glory. If he died, it would be to meet Christ. Because of Paul’s great love for Christ, this made death ever sweet. This isn’t morbid, but a desire fueled by love and faith. He had no doubt of God’s saving power—to either save him from persecution or to save him from death.
So, do you fear death? Or can you proclaim, “To live is Christ and to die is gain”? If not, what does this earth contain that you believe is better than Christ Himself?
God, thank You for Your word that can wash away all fears. Thank You for Christ’s perfect atonement, that I do not need to fear death, but I can know with confidence that my sins were paid in full, and when I die I will be with You in eternal life. I look forward to the day when I can worship You in perfect harmony with the saints—no more sin, no more tears, no more pain. Thank You for such a great salvation. Amen.
If you struggle with a fear of death, perhaps you need to do some heart searching. Why do you fear death? Is there something on earth you love more than Christ that you are afraid to leave behind? Do you struggle with assurance of salvation and fear you may not find yourself in eternal life? Search your heart today, and see what is holding you back from proclaiming with Paul, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”